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Post 0

Friday, November 8, 2013 - 7:01pmSanction this postReply
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I hope you all can make sense of it! I was excited to tell you all my recent thoughts on this subject. I didn't want to delay the release to clean up the grammar. I'll fix it up soon.

Post 1

Friday, December 13, 2013 - 9:15amSanction this postReply
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National Review touted "Edison's Revenge on the Dollar." (video here.)  I suffered through a little of that and then went browsing for "thomas edison currency" and similar key phrases. Along the way, I found this conspiracy article about how Bitcoins is a plan of the globalist controllers to tighten their grasp on your life.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/will-digital-currency-replace-the-us-dollar-wall-street-strategy-to-make-bitcoin-the-global-currency/5361021

As for Edison's theories on money:
Edison proposed that U.S. currency should be backed by the 
agricultural production of American farmers. Money would be injected 
into the economy by “interest free” loans to farmers and canceled within 
the year. We show that Edison’s plan amounted to farmers selling their 
produce to the government in exchange for cash and an American call 
option. 


"Thomas Edison’s Monetary Option," by David L. Hammes (Department of Economics), Douglas T. Wills (Milgard School of Business) University of Washington Tacoma.


And this from Thomas Edison and Henry Ford on Mussell Shoals power plant (from a NYT story):
“It is absurd to say that our country can issue $30,000,000 in bonds and not $30,000,000 in currency. Both are promises to pay: but one promise fattens the usurer, and the other helps the people.
If the currency issued by the Government were no good, then the bonds issued would be no good either. It is a terrible situation when the Government, to increase the national wealth, must go into debt and submit to ruinous interest charges at the hands of men who control the fictitious values of gold."


 
 
Just to note: I have no opposition to Bitcoin myself. In fact, I think that they are a good idea, the latest in a line of attempts at further abstracting the concept of money in a medium appropriate for the information age.  That said, I do note - you cannot fail to notice - that a lot of hype is coming up lately, with the National Review now joining the chorus.  I liked it better when no one knew about it.

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 12/13, 9:19am)


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Post 2

Monday, August 7 - 12:54pmSanction this postReply
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CBOE plans to launch bitcoin futures. This might not be the best place to post this. It seems like a pretty big step.



Post 3

Thursday, August 10 - 4:20amSanction this postReply
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If the Chicago Board Option Exchange lists Bitcoin it would be an endorsement of true market stability in what is still (to me) a black market. 

 

There was a time when cows were money. The word "pecuniary" is rooted in the word for "cattle or sheep (livestock)."  The German word  "das Vieh" for cattle is etymologically equivalent to the English "the fee."  We know from about 1400 BCE large slabs of bronze in the shape of cowhides, in order to carry the meaning that "this is money." But cows are inconvenient.  Silver and gold are not intrinsically valuable, but are only abstractions for money or wealth. And they work quite well for that. "Pounds-shilling-pence" was invented as an abstraction in the Middle Ages. Bankers met at fairs and cleared their books without ever touching a coin.  

 

Bitcoin will travel the same route. This is a step along that rocky path.



Post 4

Thursday, August 10 - 12:54pmSanction this postReply
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Silver and gold are not intrinsically valuable, but are only abstractions for money or wealth.

 

Silver and gold ARE intrinsically valuable.  Again, Marotta takes a progressive position.  Gold and silver have many potential uses: Jewelry, electrical components, and many, many more.  If their current prices are higher than what it would be worth for a given industrial use, say gold as plating for metal plumbing pipes (due to its natural resistance to oxidation), it is because of the lack of financial stability of the alternatives (e.g., various paper currencies). 



Post 5

Friday, August 11 - 4:26amSanction this postReply
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Objectivism teaches that there are no intrinsic values. Conservatives commit an epistemological error when they say that gold (or silver) is "intrinsicly valuable." The natives of North Carolina and South Africa walked over tons of gold, it had no value to them.  When Columbus met the natives of the New World, the natives knew some metallurgy, and they had gold jewelry, which they gladly gave up for the brass fittings or eyelets the Spaniards wore on their clothes. The natives knew copper by its taste and copper was more useful than gold - and always was and still is.  The Aztecs and Incas had storerooms piled with gold and silver, but their civilization lacked the wheel. All the gold and silver in America could not buy an idea. When the Spanish looted the natives and exported tons of gold and silver to Spain, it made that nation poorer with every shipload that arrived.  When the British colonies of North America needed money for their governments, they printed paper. It quickly lost value. So they printed more. It quickly lost value. So they printed more...  And here we are, not because of gold, but because of the ideas, the reasons, the discovered facts, and the integrated knowledge, that gave gold value to people who had values based on reason and reality.

Good?—by what standard? ...  ‘Value’ presupposes an answer to the question: of value to whom and for what? ‘Value’ presupposes a standard, a purpose and the necessity of action in the face of an alternative. ...  There is a morality of reason, a morality proper to man, and Man’s Life is its standard of value. ...  Galt's Speech

 

Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except the voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. -- Francisco's Money Speech

 

Apart from jewelry, gold and silver had very little utilitarian value until the industrial revolution.  The invention of photography including the so-called "x-ray spectrum" consumed tons of silver, which was recovered and reused. Even today, in the age of digital selfies, silver-based films are preferred by camera aficianados and medical technicians. For many years, most of the new silver in the United States came from the secondary refinement of copper. Much still does.  Electricity makes copper is "intrinsically" more valuable than silver: you cannot ring a bell with a glass fiber. But taking that intellectual short cut - "intrinsic" - opens the door to a world of errors in thinking that result in errors of morality.  And those compound further.  

 

It is intrinsic to an electron to have a property that we call "spin."  It is intrinsic to gold to be malleable. Nothing about electrons or gold gives them value to humans except as we use them to gain, keep, and improve our lives.

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 8/11, 4:33am)



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Friday, August 11 - 9:39amSanction this postReply
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Marotta, you are mistakenly using the word "intrinsic" differently in the two contexts.  When an Objectivist says that there are no intrinsic values he is making a statement about the epistemological process of valuing being one that requires a valuer - a consciousness - and that which is valued, and that the valuing goes on in the person's mind, and that, metaphysically, there is not some property inside the substance that is we would call "value".  Note the context: metaphysics and epistemology.

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You say, "Conservatives commit an epistemological error when they say that gold (or silver) is "intrinsicly valuable."  I suppose in your mind "conservatives" are the opposites of progressives/Marxists/anarchists and that is why you choose the label "conservative".  But it is Austrian economists and all of the other advocates of a  gold standard that say "gold has intrinsic value".... and they are NOT commenting on metaphysics or epistemology.

 

These economists notice the properties and therefore the potential uses of silver and gold - those that are apart from its use as money.  One might  notices that gold is resistant to oxidation and that it can easily alloyed with other metals to achieve different properties.  And he might notice, as Harry Browne did, that if it were not valued so highly as money, it would be ideal for use as rain gutters on many houses.  He says that gold and silver have intrinsic value.  His meaning is that properties that are intrinsic to this metal, would make it valuable (sought after in the marketplace) apart from its acceptance as money.  Note the context: economics.
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You said, "The natives knew copper by its taste and copper was more useful than gold - and always was and still is."  Do you mean that there is intrinsically more value in copper than gold?  Is that a case of you being hoisted from the same petard you were fastening to conservatives?
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You said, "It is intrinsic to gold to be malleable."  That is true.  And that is a proper use of the word 'intrinsic.'  If that malleability along with other intrinsic properties, like being one of the least reactive elements, that when in a thin enough sheet it will filter out infrared (used in visors in spacesuits), being an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, make it desirable for a given use, then the short-hand method that economists use is to say that it is intrinsically valuable.  They are just saying that it would be valued for its properties even if it weren't for its use as money.  Why are you so resistant to grasping such an obvious fact?
--------------------------

 

This isn't the first time that you've chosen to misunderstand what is meant when people talk about gold or silver's "intrinsic value."  Don't you wonder why you'd choose to blind yourself again and again?  Could it be that you have an affinity for the progressive hatred of gold (and we know why they hate a form of money they can't control and inflate)?  You discuss copper's intrinsic value and declare that it is more intrinsically valuable then gold.  Frankly, it just isn't clear what you think.



Post 7

Saturday, August 12 - 4:06amSanction this postReply
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Steve, your heartfelt attempt to defend your wrongful claims about the “intrinsic value of gold” was troubled by errors of fact.  If an “Austrian” economist said that gold has intrinsic value, it was not Ludwig von Mises. 

Value is not intrinsic, it is not in things. It is within us; it is the way in which man reacts to the conditions of his environment. Neither is value in words and in doctrines. It is reflected in human conduct.  (Human Action, Scholars Ed. page 96. https://mises.org/system/tdf/Human%20Action_3.pdf)

 

An inveterate fallacy asserted that things and services exchanged are of equal value. Value was considered as objective, as an intrinsic quality inherent in things and not merely as the expression of various people's eagerness to acquire them. People, it was assumed, first established the magnitude of value proper to goods and services by an act of measurement and then proceeded to barter them against quantities of goods and services of the same amount of value. This fallacy frustrated Aristotle's approach to economic problems … 

 

The basis of modern economics is the cognition that it is precisely the disparity in the value attached to the objects exchanged that results in their being exchanged. People buy and sell only because they appraise the things given up less than those received. Thus the notion of a measurement of value is vain.

(ibid 104-105)

It would be easy to pounce on that last sentence. When we exchange, it is specifically because of a prior measurement of value. We measure value many ways. A handwritten Thank You note is valuable to the recipient because it is evidence of the time you invest in the relationship. Keeping only to money, though, it is a measure of value. But I accept that LvM could not discuss economics like one of Tolkein’s Ents, all morning to say say “Good morning” in all of its contexts and nuances.  In the context of HA cited above, LvM is correct. 

 

LvM also could be accused of misusing the word “objective” when he wrote: “Value was considered as objective, as an intrinsic quality inherent in things …”  He meant, of course, the first level of “objective” as “existing outside of the observer.”  Ayn Rand had much more to say about the meanings of “objective.”  LvM was correct: value does not exist within things, but within us.

 

Rand cautioned vehemently against the dangers of beginning the investigation with the axiom of subjective values. 

 

I do not know where you get the idea that I dislike gold (or antimony or samarium). In point of fact, I bought my first gold coin, a British sovereign in 1971. I would have done it five years earlier, when I first read Atlas Shrugged, but I did not know enough about the numismatic markets. It is true that on my blog is an essay, "Mere Gold is Not Enough: Hayek's Denationalisation" about competing currencies. 

 

Brilliant as she was, Ayn Rand did not solve all of the problems associated with the nature of money.  See my essay, “Objectivism and the Gold Standard.”

 

We all know why gold ascended as the preferred money for large-scale, wholesale, and international trade. We tend to forget the fact that silver was the preferred medium for daily commerce. The facts of history deliver deep lessons to anyone with an open mind. It seems that the Comstock Lode of Nevada held more silver than was known in the entire world up to that point. The price of silver plummeted because of the volume of new supply. This is a well-known story.

 

On the other hand, I do not know any narratives about the consequence of the rich strikes of gold in California, South Africa, Australia, and Alaska. They seemed to have been not so disruptive. But I do not know.

 

But I do know that gold is not intrinsically valuable because the word “value” presupposes two questions: To whom? For what? (At least, that is what Ayn Rand said. Maybe Steve has a better insight to offer.)

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 8/12, 4:23am)



Post 8

Saturday, August 12 - 4:17amSanction this postReply
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Steve misquoted me.

SW (Post 6): You discuss copper's intrinsic value and declare that it is more intrinsically valuable then gold.  Frankly, it just isn't clear what you think.

 

MEM (Post 5):  The natives knew copper by its taste and copper was more useful than gold - and always was and still is.  



Post 9

Saturday, August 12 - 6:58amSanction this postReply
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Marotta, if you can't grasp that people have talked about the "intrinsic" value of gold and MEANT that it had physical properties that were very useful... what use is it to discuss the issue with you?

-------------------------

 

You wrote, "Brilliant as she was, Ayn Rand did not solve all of the problems associated with the nature of money.  See my essay..."  I don't see you as having solved problems that Ayn Rand, according to you, left unsolved.

--------------------------

 

But I do know that gold is not intrinsically valuable because the word “value” presupposes two questions: To whom? For what? (At least, that is what Ayn Rand said. Maybe Steve has a better insight to offer.)

 

Gold is valuable to me, and others, (the 'to whom') as a store of value (the 'for what').  If there were a discovery of new gold that was so great as to make it far less scarce than tin, it would be of valuable to home builders (the 'to whom'), for physical properties intrinsic to the element that would make it excellent for rain gutters (the 'for what')



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Post 10

Saturday, August 12 - 10:53pmSanction this postReply
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Gold and silver are termed "precious metals" because they have value to valuers--namely people. It doesn't matter if the value is "intrinsic" or extrinsic, depending of course on how the terms are defined and used. The reason gold and silver have been used as money for thousands of years is simple: they were so widely valued by users and holders that they quickly came to be seen as the most widely acceptable and marketable commodity to use in direct, and later indirect exchange. The precious metals fell into disuse as money, not because they are a monetary abstraction or token that fell out of fashion, but because governments around the world forbade--made illegal--their continued use as money. They did so for the purpose of regimenting previously voluntary commercial activities, through the central banks and their cartel arrangement with commercial banks.   

 

Under a gold coin standard, various nations ratified the fact of gold-silver as the market's money, by designating certain weights of gold as "pounds", "dollars", etc.  Again, the free market selected precious metals as money, much as the QWERT keyboard configuration became universal in mechanical writing machines. Through voluntary and spontaneous activity. But as governments moved to restrict and then prohibit the use of gold as money, commercial banks acquired protection through the power of central banks, first to unify the rate of commercial bank credit expansion, thereby protecting bank cartel members from bank runs; and second to bail out commercial banks when the inevitable crash arrived, saving them from bankruptcy. The fractional reserve commercial banks engaged in economically destructive behavior based on the violation of the right of people to choose their money, free of special bank privileges that compromise their money.  Of coourse, bankruptcy of destructive banks is economically beneficial, because it ends their destruction. 

   

Since 1913, when the Federal Reserve System was imposed on Americans and the first restrictions on gold's use as money were mandated, we've suffered endless inflation. The inflation has caused continuous destruction of scarce and precious capital--meaning scarce real tangible goods used in production--that makes everyone poorer--except for a few financial operators who seek ever higher asset prices.

 

And, of course, we've suffered monetary depreciation from the credit expansions and Fed money conjuring, such that prices today are roughly 30 times what they were in 1913, the birth year of the monstrous Federal Reserve.  



Post 11

Monday, August 14 - 3:54amSanction this postReply
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Steve, it is curious that you dismiss the metaphysical and epistemological errors in claiming that gold has intrinsic value. You of all people understand and appreciate the importance of being consistent in the fundamentals of philosophy when discussing derivative concepts such as those of economics. It was why Ayn Rand criticized LvM's Kantian idealism.  As I have demonstrated, the facts of numismatics provide ample objective evidence in support of what the Austrians claimed by pure rationalism.

 

Numismatics Informs Economics here.

Numismatics: the Standard of Proof in Economics here.

 and based on that, and following F. A. Hayek, I said that Mere Gold is Not Enough here.

If having some value to some people is intrinsic value, then what does not have intrinsic value? Does any existent not have intrinsic value? Even the Titantic has "intrinsic" value, as some people pay other people to take them down to dive the site. You must realize that this all-inclusive interpretation of the word denies any meaning at all.

 

You said that Austrian economists said that gold has intrinsic value. I cited LvM to show that you were wrong about that. And you continue to be wrong about this. Gold has many intrinsic properties. Value is not one of them.



Post 12

Monday, August 14 - 4:26amSanction this postReply
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Mark, thanks for jumping in.  Everything you said is commonly accepted by hard money people on the conservative-libertarian political spectrum. That is the reason why it is important to understand the specific errors in those easy claims.

 

First of all, even Karl Marx shared the common story from Aristotle that people chose some common medium for money to make barter easier. Only in our time has one anthropologist finally untangled the origins of trade, money, and debt.  

There is in fact no known example of a human society whose economy is based on barter of the ‘I’ll give you ten chickens for that cow’ variety. Most economies that don’t employ money — or anything that we’d identify as money, anyway — operate quite differently. They are, as French anthropologist Marcel Mauss famously put it, ‘gift economies’ where transactions are either based on principles of open-handed generosity, or, when calculation does take place, most often descend into competitions over who can give the most away. … [The] economists get it … precisely backwards. In fact, virtual money comes first. Banking, tabs, and expense accounts existed for at least 2 thousand years before there was anything like coinage, or any other physical object that was regularly used to buy and sell things, anything that could be labeled ‘currency’.  (Debt: the First 5000 Years reviewed here  Quoted in my article, "Debt: the seed of civilization" here.)  

 

Trade began as gift exchange, not as economic calculation.  

 

Literacy began as numeracy. Numbers beyond 3 were invented to keep track of goods owed to the city temples of the Sumerian context. Writing evolved from the use of clay tokens to stand for those goods. Thousand years - 30 generations = 1000 years - separates each of those distinct steps from debt (which began perhaps 30,000 years ago), to tokens, to writing numbers, to writing words other than numbers, to contractual obligation and payment to the acceptance of first wheat and then silver and other metals as common media to the invention of coinage. 

 

Moreover, coins were not invented by merchants to facilitate trade.  That was Charles Seltman's theory over 100 years ago.  We know better now, even though too many books continue to cite that claim, living as we do in such a (gratefully) commercial age.  Coins were most likely invented as tokens of esteem, like military decorations, given to mercenaries of the Greek cities of Ionia about 600 BCE. But there are other theories.  See my article here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237240614_The_Origins_of_Coinage

 

The market is amoral. In other words, just because everyone chooses to do something does not make it right. In particular, the use of names for coinages allowed governments to change the definitions of values and thereby defraud their creditors.  The "franc" the "pound sterling" and the "dollar" all were whatever the government said they were.  On the other hand, the very respectable gold coin called the British Sovereign has no value stamped on it.

 

Nothing about the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 prevented the use of gold as money.

 

Even the 1933 Presidential Order was not what conservatives claim it was.  (Anyone could continue to own gold.  Gold was bought and sold here in the USA openly based on the spot price in London.)  "Gold Was Never Illegal" here.

 

And, if just declaring something legal or illegal changed customs, then there would be no poverty and no drug abuse.

 

Again, what you said was very easy to accept prima facie.  But if you look more deeply, you will see that it is more complicated than that.

 

(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 8/14, 4:27am)



Post 13

Monday, August 14 - 8:39amSanction this postReply
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Steve, it is curious that you dismiss the metaphysical and epistemological errors in claiming that gold has intrinsic value.

 

I don't dimiss them.  That has never been my point.  I've always been clear that there must be someone to value, and they use some standard of value, and the valuing process goes on in their mind.  But, as I've said before, there are those who refer to properties that ARE intrinsic to gold - propertied discussed in physics and metallurgy and chemistry.  And they say that if gold had no monetary/investment value, it would be valued because of those properties.  BUT they do a short-hand version of saying that - they mean that gold is valuable because of its intrinsic properties.  You refuse to acknowledge those simple facts.  We aren't talking about philosophers or linguists and we should be talking about what is the concept they intend to convey.  You, on the other hand, use the English language to make yourself look all wise and knowing, even when you focus on the litteral presentation at the expense of what was meant.  The English language isn't always used in ways that are precise - in your case it is often used to obscure a truth.
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I am astounded at your persistent attempts to rewrite history from a progressive view point.  You don't think that an order that made it illegal to own gold (but for limited exemptions) - and order forcing a huge number of people to turn over their gold at government set prices.

 

And, if just declaring something legal or illegal changed customs, then there would be no poverty and no drug abuse.

 

Millions are in prison because of drug laws.  Poverty laws have had effects - they have build an industry that receives government money to administer to poverty in ways that have perpetuated it and ensured that it will be passed on from generation to generation.  You act as if passing laws, and making some attempt to enforce them had zero effects.  You are a strange kind of 'denier.'
--------------------------

 

You seem to put great store by the ideas of Marcel Mauss.  You didn't mention that this French sociologist/anthropologist was also a socialist and wrote a great many leftist papers in his time.  Here is the quote (pulled from Wikipedia) that outlines his "Gift Economy":

 

"What power resides in the object given that causes its recipient to pay it back?" (1990:3). The answer is simple: the gift is a "total prestation" (see law of obligations), imbued with "spiritual mechanisms", engaging the honour of both giver and receiver (the term "total prestation" or "total social fact" (fait social total) was coined by his student Maurice Leenhardt after Durkheim's social fact). Such transactions transcend the divisions between the spiritual and the material in a way that, according to Mauss, is almost "magical". The giver does not merely give an object but also part of himself, for the object is indissolubly tied to the giver: "the objects are never completely separated from the men who exchange them" (1990:31). Because of this bond between giver and gift, the act of giving creates a social bond with an obligation to reciprocate on the part of the recipient. Not to reciprocate means to lose honour and status, but the spiritual implications can be even worse: in Polynesia, failure to reciprocate means to lose mana, one's spiritual source of authority and wealth. Mauss distinguished between three obligations: giving, the necessary initial step for the creation and maintenance of social relationships; receiving, for to refuse to receive is to reject the social bond; and reciprocating in order to demonstrate one's own liberality, honour, and wealth.

 

Marotta, doesn't it bother you that you hitch your silly intellectual wagon to such a mystical explanation that includes imbuing anything gifted with an intrinsic value? 

--------------------

 

I keep replying to many of Marotta's posts, in part, in hopes that other ROR readers will see the terrible logical disconnects and the great distance from Objectivism that lie hidden behind his word-smithing and numismatic trivia.
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I'm just guessing, but I'd say that Marotta is still a kind of anarchist.  I think that he has become a secret anarchist whose rational is that the market place will replace government or go around it or in some way make it superflous.  I imagine him thinking, "Who cares if there is a government, and it passes laws, and it throws people in jail or takes their stuff.... people just need to be smart and go around the laws and eventually government will wither away."  That has a kind of Marxist history feel to it, where revolutions (or transfomations) will inescapably occur leading to a utopia.   But if that is what is in his mind, it is till all floating abstractions and terribly dishonest for being kept hidden or denied.
 



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Post 14

Monday, August 14 - 10:39amSanction this postReply
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I don't want to be snarky, but Michael Marotta's response to my brief explanation of the emergence, through the market process, of money in trade was...mind boggling. He seems to be infatuated with tossing out claims he believes are factual, without coherent explanation of economic cause and effect tying them together.  On what basis he decides that a thing is factual or true, I have no idea. 

 

For instance, he believes gifting is important in economic history as the key explanation to...what? The development of money? To gift something requires that it first be produced. Production beyond bare subsistance requires trade, conducted as direct exchange (barter) or indirect exchange (using money). Everyone knows different goods have functioned as money in history; the commodity so used depends on the character of the economy that produced it.

 

Oddly, Mr. Marotta thinks he has exposed problems with the theory I highlighted about money, without pointing out logical problems with that economic theory--just a snowstorm of "facts" picked up from "anthropologists".  But facts in economic history do not appear as such to the historian; they must be constructed from theories. If the theory used is correct and the historian's understanding is based on good inferences, then the facts he constructs are true. If the theory used is not correct, the historian's "facts" are misconceptions about the past.

 

I'm sorry, but I don't intend to waste more time discussing issues with Mr. Marotta. I'd be endlessly chasing my tail. I don't like to be rude. Best of luck to you. 



Post 15

Wednesday, August 16 - 4:27amSanction this postReply
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My article on the origins of coinage, posted on Researchgate, provides a bibliography of sources.  The original article (somewhat longer) was published by The Numismatist.  The ANA granted the work its highest literary award on a nomination by Elvira Clain-Stefanelli, a Smithsonian Institute curator for numismatics. My work (1993) corrected the Encyclopedia Britannica, which then only carried Charles Seltman's own "merchant theory" from 1920, but now is up-to-date.  

 

My essays on Sumerian tokens come directly from the research of Denise Schmandt-Besserat. Her monumental discovery of the use of clay tokens explains the origin of writing. She wrote three books on the subject, one of them for children. 

 

I am no more enamored of socialism than anyone else here, but the facts are what they are, regardless of the personal foibles of those who discover them.  We do have a basic disconnect here, though, in that I believe facts to be discovered, while Mark Humphrey believes that facts are invented.

MH: But facts in economic history do not appear as such to the historian; they must be constructed from theories. If the theory used is correct and the historian's understanding is based on good inferences, then the facts he constructs are true.

At best, that claim appears to me to be a misinterpretation of David Harriman's "Logical Leap." Perhaps Mark Humphrey means something else, but he has decided not to discuss this any further.

 

I also point out that the easy claims from "hard money" theorists do not stand up to investigation. (I used to believe them, also. I came to conservatism as a teenager in the 1960s. But I continued to investigate and learn.)  The first gifts were meat offered by males to females in return for sexual congress. At least a million years later...  the earliest "special gifts" we know of from about 30,000 YA are sea shells daubed with red ochre. They were not (apparently) exchanged for anything - maybe for sex.... but we have no evidence - but were gifts that brought social bonding between individuals.  Gifts were not invented as economic calculation in bartered goods.  That came later.  Trade for profit was a wonderful improvement in the human condition. But that required first the invention of numbers larger than three, about 3000 BCE.



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